There is more to us than our mind and our words.
Has talk therapy been helpful in the past – but doesn’t seem to touch some of your deeper pain and concerns? To address all of who we are – to move through our deep wounds and touch our deep resources, hopes, desires, meanings and purpose – we must move beyond just talk therapy.
Somatic (body-mind) psychology is an interdisciplinary field that studies the body and the embodied self, and includes therapeutic and holistic approaches to the person as a whole body-mind. Body-mind psychotherapy works from the assumption that our emotions, conscious and unconscious mind, core self, and relationships are all part of an experiential whole that is reflected in bodily experience – and bodily awareness and interventions as seen as key to healing and growth. Body-mind psychotherapy can be quite valuable for people who feel out off touch with their vitality, have trouble “getting out of their heads,” are seeking balanced expression of feeling and sexuality, or want to be more grounded and spontaneous in everyday life.
Bioenergetic Analysis is the foundation of the body-mind approach I use in therapy and in skills training sessions. Bioenergetic Analysis, developed by psychiatrists Alexander Lowen, MD and John Pierrakos, MD, is a psychotherapy that helps people resolve emotional issues and to realize their potential for an integrated and embodied life where they can experience vitality, love, pleasure, health and joy. Bioenergetics has been around for 60 years but continues to be a cutting-edge psychotherapy, integrating ongoing insights and research from multiple disciplines, including attachment theory, trauma research, mindfulness research and practice, and neurobiology. Research in these fields validates what Lowen and Pierrakos knew regarding the body-mind relationship and why effective therapy includes both. Bioenergetic analysis is the root of nearly every other body psychotherapy method used today.
My approach to somatic psychology work integrates practices from Bioenergetics and other body-mind psychotherapies, including Hakomi, sensorimotor therapy, and process work.
For those who also have psychospiritual interests, somatic psychology and body-mind psychotherapy operate from a holistic-integral view and use the powerful connection between body, mind and spirit for therapeutic work. Transpersonal psychology and psychotherapy offer a psychospiritual perspective for understanding ourselves , our nature, our struggles, and our development. My doctoral dissertation was on the topic of mystical experience and mental health – and integrating body, mind, consciousness, and relationship is an area of particular interest to me as a psychologist, as a psychotherapist, and as a person.
Some Introductory Readings
- A Brief Introduction to Body-Mind Psychology – An overview of the topics of body psychology, somatic psychotherapy, and issues commonly addressed with body-oriented approaches.
- The Role of the Body in Bioenergetic Psychotherapy – Body-mind psychotherapy stands in contrast to purely verbal psychotherapies by including your bodily self in the therapy session. This article introduces you to the different ways your bodily self can be a part of psychotherapy.
- A Brief Introduction to Transpersonal (Psychospiritual) Psychology – An overview of the arena in which psychospiritual practices and psychotherapy integrate to address issues of both everyday life and issues of consciousness and meaning.
Below you will find other relevant readings from the News & Articles section…
- Depression, Low Energy, and the Hazards of Living by Will Alone
- Bioenergetic Exercises, Self-Expression – and Emotional Release
- A Focus on Life, Living, and the Free Flow of Energy and Impulse
- The Body Knows – Even If “We” Don’t
- Feeling Ourselves from the Inside Out – Versus Viewing Ourselves from the Outside In